Tips and tricks of upscyling Jeans!

Making jeans can be a little intimidating for some… and we’ve already had a post here about making jeans look more like store bought jeans with details like top-stitching thread and distressing.

But, a really easy way to get your jeans looking professional is to use an old pair that an adult is throwing/giving away! This means a lot less work for you distressing and top-stitching if you’re smart about laying out your pattern pieces! So here it goes…my tips on using pre-existing jeans:

1- Making a few cuts along the seams can really make cutting your pieces much easier! I like to cut along the inside legs/crotch, cut off the waistband and beltloops, and the back pockets.

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2- Be cautious about distressed/washed jeans and laying out your pattern pieces… meaning, if your jeans have a very obvious fade/wash/distress pattern on them then you need to make sure you like where it will be placed and that it will match when you sew up your jeans. For this pair, I wanted the distressed area of the original jeans, so I laid my patterns around that.  Notice that my two pieces are very close to the same area horizontally, and that the back yoke is placed above the back piece.  All of this will ensure that the distressing and wash look natural on my finished jeans.

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You can also use the original hem line if you prefer to get that instead. Remember to account for hem allowance. I did that with this pair, because my jeans didn’t have a very noticeable distressing.

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Use the back pockets when cutting your new pockets, Remember to account for the hem allowance at the top.

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If you’d like to use the waistband and belt loops you can…. but warning, unpicking those belt loop stiches is not fun 😉

If you pattern calls for elastic in the waistband, like my Cpt. Comfort Jeans, then you will have to cut a slit on the wrong side of the waistband to slip your elastic through- I just use a wide zigzag to mend the slit after (I hide the zigzag stitches behind a belt loop!).  Make sure when overlapping that you line up your jeans button and button hole, you can see here on mine they overlapped much more then the pattern called for.  Then you will tack down the bottom of the belt loops 🙂

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3- Now that you have your pieces cut you will continue to sew them just like the pattern calls for  matching the store bought top-stitching thread as best you can. And although they have a wash and distressing, I STILL distress along the way! That way my finished jeans will have the distressing where store bought jeans do, like along pocket lines.

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Now you have a great fitting (no plumbers crack!) pair of jeans that cost you nothing but the thread and time ❤ and plus they look amazing!

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Make ready to wear looking jeans!

Jeans can be an intimidating sewing task, but they really aren’t that difficult and it is so great to have well fitting jeans for you or your little ones! No more plumbers crack when bending down!!!!! 😉

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With my recent release of the Cpt. Comfort Jeans I wanted to post about how to distress your new denim to look more like ready to wear jeans! I personally LOVE the distressed look! Although a super clean dark denim can look nice as a “dressy” pair of jeans like here:

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But for everyday, I just love the little distressed look… something about looking like Daddy gets me every time with my little guy!

So, lets get started on those great store bought look jeans!

You really MUST use a top-stitching thread for all your top-stiching if you want store bought look… I scoffed at my Mom the first time she told me it was a must… BUT she was right, like always!!

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You will use this heavier/thicker weight top-stitching thread in the top only and for top-stitching only. You will use regular thread in the bobbin and for all seams sewing the jeans together– yep, you have to rethread a lot ;). But it is absolutely worth it if you want ready to wear looking jeans! I promise!

You will also NEED a bigger needle designed for heavy weight fabric like denim or you will be breaking needles on those thick belt loops!… here is a single and double needle:

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Now, I only have one machine, so there is A LOT of switching threads and needles if I use the double needle. So, I will often just sew two lines with my single needle instead of switching to my double needle 😉

Now for the distressing, you will need some sandpaper! To be honest, I’m not sure the BEST kind of sandpaper to use… I asked my husband if he had some and used whatever he handed me 😉 Here is a shot of the kind I happen to use!

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The trick to distressing your denim is to do at WHILE you’re sewing the jeans! If you try to do it before it’s hard to gauge where the distressing needs to be. If you do if after you’ve top-stitched them then you will be breaking your top-stitching threads (ask me how I know that one 😉 ) see left top pocket with it’s broken threads :/ oops!

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So, I suggest sewing the jeans together with your normal thread, then distressing with sandpaper before you top-stitch. Here is my patch pocket sewn, turned right sides out, and distressed along the edges (and any other places I fancied at the moment). Then I top-stitched.

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Some areas are harder to distress before topstitching like back pockets, belt loops, any piece that you are top-stitching closed or onto the jean.  But I still follow the same steps.  I just fold and press, distress, then top-stitch onto the back piece.

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So have fun with a little distressing or A LOT! lol! I like a lot 😉 I end up with a mound of blue fuzz all my sewing room by the time I’m done!

Last is the button! I love to use “real” jeans buttons- and honestly, I always have been lucky enough to take them from my loving mother’s stash! But they are very easy to put on, just line up the two parts and hammer away! Yep, you’ll have sandpaper and a hammer in your sewing room for jeans!!

I’ve always used snaps, which are very common on ready to wear for younger children 🙂

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